Friday, July 01, 2011

Dealing with "Crazies"

I confess to getting “nerverouser and nerverouser” about this debt limit business. This is because dealing with the “crazies” is terribly unpredictable, and I am more and more convinced Republicans are most probably certifiably crazy (insane, bonkers, lacking a full deck, dotty, having a screw loose, missing a cylinder, loony, mentally unbalanced, short on vital grey matter, or whatever) when it comes to the serious consideration of this issue.

While I am not a Psychiatrist (thank god) or (perhaps unhappily not a powerful Witch Doctor) I perceive certain symptoms that I believe are revealing. First, serious obsessive compulsiveness when it comes to a single issue, in this case taxes. Republicans seem to be completely unable to stray from their belief that taxes are always and in all circumstances both bad and unnecessary, they cling to their “no taxes mantra” as if the world might end if any taxes were ever to be raised. And that, along with the related obsession about the size of government seems to be the sum total of their remarkably limited belief system. This is in my opinion very unhealthy. In addition to being some kind of compulsion it also reveals they are completely inflexible, not at all a good sign of a healthy personality. Being so obsessed with their one compulsion also means they regularly and inevitably lie about it, another bad sign of something wrong. I also detect a distinct lack of emotion on their part when it comes to this issue, even though it is of the utmost importance to them. They don’t seem to shout or wave their arms in the air, or even seem terribly upset, they just routinely rather stone-facedly repeat “no taxes, no taxes.” You might think they have been coached by Buster Keaton. There is this seriousness and a remarkable flatness of affect that is quite apparent when they are discussing this issue, again not at all a sign of a healthy personality. Of even greater importance, I think, than any other single indicator of something seriously wrong, is the absence of any sense of humor. When was the last time you saw any of these Republican stalwarts laugh, make jokes, or even smile when taxes are being discussed? The absence of a sense of humor is a genuine red flag when it comes to potential mental problems.

When President Obama says he is confident Republicans will eventually understand the problem and come to the right decision I truly wonder if they will. Obama always seems to assume the best in everyone, or at least that he is dealing with rational human beings, but I suspect he is wrong in this assumption, at least when it comes to his Republican opponents. If, as I suspect, they are not at all rational about their obsessions, and are at the very least borderline mental cases, it is impossible to predict what they might do. If you have ever had to deal with the mentally retarded or the mentally ill you will know what I mean.

Of course you could argue Republicans craftily stick to their no-taxes-under-any-circumstances-small-government mantra for the express purpose of bringing down Obama and his administration and thus regaining power. That is possible. I doubt that is what is involved however, as they have had these single-minded obsessions since long before Obama (they seem to be the only ideas they have ever had). Also, unless they truly are crazy, they must understand that if they actually succeed in shutting down government in order to destroy Obama, the backlash may well destroy their Party for a very long time.

In any case, both sides are playing very dangerous games and making questionable assumptions about each other. Obama is calling their bluff and gambling Republicans will fold, Republicans, if they are not in fact actually crazy, are risking their entire “poke” on an extremely risky bluff. This is politics, American style, having become more a game of one-upmanship than serious governance, to see which side will win the “goodies” that come with power for the next few years.

On Romney, Bachmann, Pawlenty, Perry
Cain, Santorum, Gingrich, Huntsman,
Palin, and (where’s) Blitzen?

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